THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) NO "SEMICHAH" FOR THE FAMILY ELI
OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that Rebbi Yochanan sought to give Semichah to
Rebbi Chanina and Rebbi Hoshiya, but that he was unsuccessful. Every time
that they were in his presence, he could not find another two judges to join
him to give Semichah. When they saw that he was upset that he was unable to
give them Semichah, they consoled him by explaining that they were descended
from the house of Eli, and that Rebbi Yonasan had taught that no one from
the house of Eli shall ever receive Semichah, as the verse states, "There
will be no elder in your house all of the days" (Shmuel I 2:32). The word
"elder" ("Zaken") in this verse cannot mean one who has reached old age,
because the previous verse already states that the men from the house of Eli
will die young. It must mean that they will never be granted Semichah.
2) THE REMOVAL OF SINS FROM ONE WHO BECOMES A SPIRITUAL LEADER
Why did Rebbi Yochanan have difficulty in finding two others to join him in
granting Semichah? Do those two others need to have Semichah themselves?
(a) The YAD RAMAH says that Rebbi Yochanan needed two other people who had
Semichah, and he could not find them when he needed them.
However, the RAMBAM maintains that only one person needs to have Semichah
when granting Semichah to others. What, then, was Rebbi Yochanan's
difficulty in giving Semichah to his two students?
(b) The BEN YEHOYADA answers that the Rambam actually maintains that *two*
of the three people who grant Semichah must have Semichah themselves.
However, only one of them needs to have the Semichah with the power of
giving Semichah to others, while the second can have the regular Semichah
mentioned earlier of being called "Rebbi" and judging cases of penalties.
Alternatively, he answers that even though the Rambam holds that one person
with Semichah is enough, the custom was to give Semichah in public among the
other scholars in order to publicize the Semichah. Rebbi Yochanan did not
find the opportunity to do this.
The MAHARSHA asks that if these two students of Rebbi Yochanan did not
receive Semichah, then why are they called *Rebbi* Chanina and *Rebbi*
Hoshiya? The Gemara stated that the title "Rebbi" is reserved only for those
who have received Semichah!
He answers that the title of "Rebbi" granted by Semichah means that the
person is to be called only "Rebbi," without the use of the person's first
name. Second, he suggests that they were not called "Rebbi," but rather
"Rav." Indeed, the Gemara later refers to them as Rav Chanina and Rav
Hoshiya. The Maharsha adds that this is why the Amora'im of Bavel are always
referred to with the title "Rav," while those in Eretz Yisrael are referred
to with the title "Rebbi." The Amora'im in Eretz Yisrael received Semichah
from the judges in Eretz Yisrael. Since there was no Semichah in Bavel, the
Amora'im there are called only "Rav." (Y. Montrose)
QUESTION: The Gemara states that Rebbi Zeira was evading receiving Semichah
because of Rebbi Elazar's teaching that "one who lives in obscurity will
live long." RASHI explains that this means that one should distance himself
from positions of authority, because authority buries its bearer. However,
when Rebbi Zeira heard the other teaching of Rebbi Elazar -- that "a person
does not rise to a position of greatness unless all of his sins are
forgiven" -- he sought to receive Semichah.
What is the source for Rebbi Elazar's statement that a person's sins are
forgiven when he rises to a position of importance?
(a) The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM quotes RAV HAI GAON who explains that the
statement that a person's sins are forgiven when he rises to a position of
importance is learned from verses in the Torah. The verse that teaches the
Mitzvah to stand in the presence of an elder (Vayikra 19:32) immediately
precedes the verse that teaches the Mitzvah not to oppress a convert
(19:33). This proximity teaches that one who is appointed to a position of
honor is considered like a convert, who is considered to have no sins, like
a newborn child.
The Margoliyos ha'Yam quotes various other early sources, such as Midrashim
and writings attributed to Rashi, which concur with this explanation.
He says that an additional source is the verse that states that Shaul
ha'Melech was one year old when he ascended the throne (Shmuel I 13:1). In
Rashi's LIKUTEI HA'PARDES, Rashi explains that the verse is teaching that
just like a one year old child has no sins, so, too, when Shaul became king,
he was considered free of sin, since all of his sins were forgiven (see also
RADAK there in Shmuel; see, however, Rashi there in Shmuel).
The MAHARATZ CHAYOS addresses another question on this Gemara. Why are Rebbi
Elazar's statements not contradictory to each other? He first teaches that a
person should remain obscure and avoid positions of authority in order to
live long, implying that a position of authority is undesirable, and then he
teaches that when a person rises to a position of authority, his sins are
forgiven, implying that it *is* desirable!
He explains that Rebbi Elazar's first teaching is that when one does not
call attention to oneself, then no one will investigate him to uncover his
faults and imperfections. Consequently, he is able to serve Hashem
unhindered. In contrast, when a person is in a position of authority and
leadership, people will search for his faults and misdeeds, and they will
complain that he should not be guiding the people when he himself has done
misdeeds and has faults. However, now that the people know that Hashem
forgives all of his sins of the person who is appointed as a leader, they
will not complain about him being their leader (assuming, of course, that he
indeed has corrected his faults and no longer performs those misdeeds). (Y.
3) THE THREE "LEKUCHOS"
OPINIONS: The Beraisa states three "Lekuchos" (lit. "buyers") are needed to
appraise fruits of Ma'aser Sheni in order for the owner to redeem them when
the value of those fruits is not known. Who are these "Lekuchos" and what
are their requisite qualifications (if any)?
(a) RASHI explains that these three people are merchants who are experts in
(b) TOSFOS says that there are some who explain that these "Lekuchos" are
bidders who bid for the fruit in an auction-like sale which will determine
the market value of the fruit. Tosfos disproves this explanation, though,
from the Gemara later which asks whether a man and his two wives may qualify
as the three "Lekuchos." According to this explanation, how can it be that a
man and his two wives are bidding separately for the fruits? A man owns
everything that his wives own and acquire!
The ARUCH LA'NER asks another question on this explanation. Why does the
Gemara say that "even" a gentile or the owner can serve as one of the
"Lekuchos," if it means that he can be one of the bidders for the fruit?
Being a bidder has nothing to do with being Jewish or owning the fruit!
Furthermore, in the case of a Sadeh Mikneh, the bidding begins with the
owner's bid, because an owner values his property more than others and
therefore will likely give a higher opening bid. Hence, the word "even" is
inappropriate according to the explanation that "Lekuchos" means bidders.
The RAN, on the other hand, questions the explanation of Rashi. According to
Rashi, what is the question of the Gemara regarding whether the three
"Lekuchos" can be partners? If these three people are merely experts in the
evaluation of the price of fruit, then what difference does it make if they
are partners? The fact that they are business partners does not affect their
knowledge of market prices of fruit! If, on the other hand, they are
bidders, then the fact that they are partners might indeed cause their bids
to be altered, since they will tend to conspire with each other to give bids
that are lower than the market value.
Furthermore, the Gemara says that these three partners "redeem" Ma'aser
Sheni. It does not say that they "evaluate" Ma'aser Sheni!
Therefore, the Ran sides with the other explanation. The YAD RAMAH and
RABEINU YONAH agree with the Ran. Rabeinu Yonah adds that the word
"Lekuchos" also implies that these three people are buyers who are bidding
for this fruit. If the Gemara meant merchants, or price experts, then it
should have said the word for merchants ("Tagrim").
The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM suggests that Rashi agrees that these merchants are
people who are interested in buying the fruit. However, they must have
knowledge of the real market value of the fruit being redeemed, because if
they are merely uninformed bidders, then even the highest bid could end up
being too low. (Y. Montrose)